2019 Promised to Be a Year of Change.
It is now over halfway through 2019. I knew at the start of this year a lot of fairly big things would be happening. Things like my youngest son graduating from high school and my older son going back to college. Things like entering a new season of parenting and life.
But I had NO idea what 2019 would really entail.
As I thought about my word for 2019, I tossed around quite a few before settling on EQUIPPED. (I always know I’ve hit on the right word because I start crying- and I’m not really much of a crier).
More Change Than I Realized
I was barely into 2019 when I broke my leg. I’ve never broken a limb before, and I have to say, I could go the rest of my life without experiencing it again. While I am thankful I had the best-case scenario if you are going to break a leg, it was also a huge inconvenience.
It made everything take longer, become more complicated and difficult.
But, I got past it. I managed to not miss any of my son’s games during his last season of basketball, and I navigated the many college visits (and their innumerable stairs; WHY do colleges have SO. MANY. STAIRS???)
And I kept writing.
In fact, I wrote the majority of book 2 in my middle-grade fantasy adventure series, Pan’s Secret, on my couch with my crutches propped up next to me.
In some ways, having limited movement with fewer expectations made writing easier. I mean, what else did I have to do? I certainly wasn’t going to go take a walk or anything.
The End of One Chapter
This spring was something of a marathon as we headed into the homestretch of Brody’s senior year. Each big event was part of the countdown to graduation: the last basketball game, the last sports banquet, the last musical, the junior/senior banquet. Each of those things were the winding down of one chapter in the anticipation of the start of another.
I enjoyed those events, and had my moments of nostalgia. I did all the< “how did time go so fast?” and “didn’t he just start middle-school?” type of musings.
When Change Isn’t So Pleasant
And when he had graduated and the big party was over, I went in to see my doctor for a check-up.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really wasn’t expecting anything to be truly wrong.
Sure, I had also had a few times that spring when I felt abnormally out of breath and my heart seemed to pound, but I’d also just spent a couple of months not moving much. If it wasn’t for these weird creases in my earlobes (and studies prove they can indicate a problem), I might even have pushed that check-up to the fall.
Until my EKG was abnormal.
And the echo was really abnormal.
I remember listening to the nurse talking and saying all these words that were completely foreign to me: global hypokinesis, ejection fraction, and cardiomyopathy.
When I looked them up, I felt like I was entering a new world – one that I definitely didn’t want to visit. The world of heart failure.
Coming to Grips With Reality
I know, they always tell you not to google anything, but I have a very active imagination. I am also the type of person who gathers information and knowledge when I’m facing something scary. It makes me feel prepared.
But what I read sounded dire and more than scary. It sounded, well, terminal.
And suddenly the idea of a five-year plan seemed dumb, mostly because I wasn’t sure I’d be around in 5 years.
Instead of wondering what I was going to do in this new chapter of my life, I found myself wondering what I would be doing in what was probably my last chapter of life.
What Do I Really Believe?
I found myself looking straight at the question of whether I really believed that to live was Christ and to die was gain.
The truth is, we all know in our heads that technically we could die at any time, but the reality of that – not so much.
God and I had to wrestle it out, piece by piece.
That looked like spending time in prayer and memorizing Psalms 91:1-10 and reviewing Ephesians 1.
And one of the first pieces I had to click into place was whether I would still obey what God called me to do which is to write? Or would I let fear freeze me into place?
So, I sat down and I wrote.
Obeying Even When You Don’t Know the Outcome
It wasn’t easy. The first few days, my writing felt stiff, and the voices of my characters sounded far away and tinny.
There were times I wondered why I was doing this anyway, and the temptation to while away my time worrying called to me.
I kept pushing forward, though, and eventually, I found my groove. And I wrote the first draft of my third book between the visit with the cardiologist and my very first heart catheterization which happened yesterday.
A New Chapter
The good news is that my heart is clear. There are no blockages, and its function has improved since that echo back in June. My dilated cardiomyopathy was probably caused by either a virus or stress, and my doctor said my condition should improve over time, especially if I take good care of myself.
When I chose my word for this year, I’m not sure what I thought I’d learn. I certainly didn’t think it would involve one scenario after another where I was basically in a position of helplessness and I couldn’t fix it.
I do know that what God HAS shown me.
HE is the one who is equipped to help us get through anything that we face.
HE is the one that will go with us if we continue to push forward – even if that seems hard or difficult or impossible.
HE is the one that does the equipping, and the best place to be thus equipped is when we are at His complete mercy.
Don’t Let Fear Keep You From Moving Forward
I don’t know what you are facing today. I don’t know which mountain you are standing at the foot of, whose summit seems unattainable for whatever reason. What I do know is that God is always faithful and true and that He always keeps HIs promises. He never leaves us or forsakes us, and HE DOES equip us for every good work He created us to do, even if that seems impossible.
He will hide you under His pinions;
Under his wings, you may seek refuge.
His faithfulness is a shield and a bulwark.